Future of the CPA
The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license is a well-known credential respected by many in accounting/business. It typically is a challenging exam requiring lots of schooling and, in most states, even requires staying an extra year to get a master's to be eligible to sit for the exam. For example, I plan on sitting for the Texas CPA license, which requires each individual to have 150 hours, 30 of which are upper-level accounting and 24 upper-level business classes. This is on top of the typical undergraduate degree in accounting. Requiring students to stay an extra year for a master's has deterred some people I know from choosing that as their career. I think making some changes could be beneficial to make accounting a more appealing profession. In one of my earlier posts, I talked about the number of students pursuing accounting being on the decline; therefore, the number of CPAs is also declining and could be a problem in the future as more and more accounting jobs are being created. A Fortune article published at the end of 2022 discusses the significant accountant shortage because people are drawn away from the profession due to Big Four compensation, work-life balance, and CPA requirements.
States have begun to think of new ways to introduce more people to the profession and make it a more accessible and realistic goal to obtain a CPA. Minnesota, this last week, proposed legislature HF 1749 & SF 1660. They called the bill "broadening the path to licensure", and this would require people only to have 120 college hours but require two years of experience instead of the traditional 150 hours and one year of experience. I think that this is a great idea to remove that small barrier to entry for some people who were deterred from pursuing accounting because of CPA requirements. This will allow students who may not have been able to afford a master's degree to instead work in the field for an extra year while also requiring them to sit for the same exam to obtain their title. If Minnesota can push this bill through, I hope other states follow, resulting in more accountants without damaging the CPA's reputation and prestigious.